Trendspotting 2022 and Beyond

At the recently concluded 12th Mansmith Market Masters Conference, we asked three seasoned marketers about trends to expect in 2022 and beyond. They are Kakam Gabunada, Vice President of Nestle Philippines; John Rubio, Country Director of Facebook; and Steven Tan, President of SM Supermalls in the Philippines and China. Here is a 4-point summary of what they shared.

Q1: What should marketers anticipate in emerging channels and why?

Kakam: 3 clues are in place: 1) Emerging channels will stay. If you are not available in digital, you are considered out of stock. 2) Embrace real time evaluations. Done is better than perfect. 3) Digital is a complement, and will not replace offline touchpoints. The perception of value is changing. Some trends to note: There is pressure in the disposable income of households, so consumers will redefine their priorities and choose essential items. The pandemic also made consumers buy larger sized packs and stock up more.

John:  50% of consumers shopped online for the 1st time, and 90% are willing to shop online again. Your channel should have both an omni and frictionless strategy– remember the Philippines has the lowest per capita spend online (45% buying online), so there are a lot of opportunities.

Steven: Keep your ears on the ground. Do data-driven thinking. Retailers need to track the route of consumers inside stores, but don’t dismiss the instinctive side of trendspotting. Then, aside from communicating safety, you need to promote new things (for example, the BTS pop up stores inside SM) to lure people back. Follow social media profiles of well-known trendsetters – the world is getting smaller, but translate that to your local context. Finally, essential doesn’t just mean basic needs for survival, because it is the customers who define what essentials are, so how you convince the consumers your products are considered essential matters. 

Q2: What changes in consumer behavior should be expected and what will be their implication for marketing plans?

Kakam: Expect 3 changes – 1) Power of 1 versus power of many – instead of using only 1 celebrity, having word of mouth started by ordinary people can be better. 2) Massive digital migration. Even the taho vendor inside our subdivision accepts GCash only. There is a resurgence of QR code use in the Philippines. 3) Value 2.0, which means consumers are willing to pay premium prices for convenience, experience, and delivery. The cheapest is not necessarily the best.  

John: 3 changes: 1) Rise of omni channel. 2) Emergence of the Discovery generation, where a lot of what they know are discovered, not planned, so they are not as brand loyal. 90% of them bought something they have never heard before, so you should be discoverable and build your brand. 3) Rise of digital messaging, with the Philippines now the number one in Instant messaging, not just selfies.

Steven: 3 changes: 1) Retail can no longer be brick and mortar only — be present both online and offline. Everything in retail stores should be shoppable and shippable (SM, as an example, launched SM Malls Online with the advantage of a single shipment fee from multiple brands, as if they are visiting a store physically). 2) Find ways to support local communities (SM used displaced tricycle drivers in Bulacan to do deliveries where there are no Grab services). 3) Pivot your products. Perfume makers can create hand sanitizers to be saleable. Jewelry can be used as chains for face shields and masks.

Q3: What is the future of in-store touch points, and how will these be used? Why?

Kakam: 1) Use of data analytics. 2) Fridge brands will tell you when you are stocked out and need to reorder. 3) Sari-sari store areas for congregation.

John: Physical stores have advantages in 3 areas: 1) Offline will not disappear, but their role may change. For instance, physical stores for impulse buys versus Lazada’s 3 days to deliver. 2) Actual touch and feel. 3) Brand Experience. For instance, the Apple store is not just to fulfil sales but to let people experience the brand.

Steven: Stores will have 3 roles: 1) Discovery (with thousands of products available, some stores even have digital capabilities inside like Prada store’s mirror allow you to see yourself with the outfit you want without trial fitting). 2) Story telling (store is a big canvas for their campaign, Nike and lululemon’s LED, displays etc.). 3) Curation (where people can see selected products).

Q4: Any last tips you like to give marketers as advice?

Kakam: 3 tips: 1) Be comfortable with ambiguity. 2) Be quick to apply learning. The cost of mistakes is greater than not being available. 3) Be brave to disrupt even yourself.

John: 2 words: Be Bold! What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Steven:  3 things: 1) It’s very tempting to forecast changes but what is more relevant are the changes that will endure post pandemic. 2) Build the ability to identify shifts and stay ahead. 3) Remember to keep in mind, however, that not all consumers want digital.


Josiah Go is Chairman and Chief Innovation Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc.  Learn different perspectives from 10 Award-Winning, International Speakers in 5 Sessions focusing on actionable brand-building insights across the world at the 3rd Mansmith Brand Summit (International Edition): Recovery Marketing: How People Live, Play, Buy, Eat & Heal. Register now at

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Josiah Go features the movers and shakers of the business world and writes about marketing, strategy, innovation, execution and entrepreneurship


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